Date
4 December 2016
Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching defied a ban and barged into the Legco on Wednesday, demanding that they be allowed to retake their oaths as lawmakers. Photo: RTHK
Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching defied a ban and barged into the Legco on Wednesday, demanding that they be allowed to retake their oaths as lawmakers. Photo: RTHK

Legco meeting adjourned amid localist duo oath-taking row

Legislative Council President Andrew Leung adjourned the house on Wednesday amid chaotic scenes after two lawmakers-elect were barred from retaking their oath of office pending a judicial review.

There was bedlam as Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching of the localist group Youngspiration barged into the chamber, along with a group of pan-democrats, and demanded that they be administered their oaths.

Asserting their right to take oath and begin duties as lawmakers, the opposition duo refused to leave the chamber, defying a ban.

There was some slogan-shouting in the hall and unruly scenes, which prompted Legco chief Leung to adjourn the meeting. 

Legco had earlier put notices outside saying Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching were banned from entering the chambers.

A meeting started as soon as Legco staff told reporters to leave the chamber. But the Legco chief immediately told the Youngspiration pair to leave, saying they had no right to attend the meeting.

Many pan-democratic lawmakers then left their seats and protested against Leung’s decision, RTHK reports.

Some lawmakers stood surrounding the Youngspiration pair, trying to protect them from being carried away by security guards.

Leung then ordered the meeting to be suspended.

The Legco chief announced Tuesday that he has decided to defer the repeat oath-taking of the Youngspiration duo until a legal challenge over the issue is resolved.

The decision came after pro-establishment lawmakers made it clear they will stage a walk-out from the chamber and disrupt the proceedings if the two localists were allowed to retake their pledges.

Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching need fresh oath-taking as their earlier pledges taken on Oct. 12 were declared invalid due to their use of “offensive” words against China.

Following their modified pledges, the government launched a legal challenge to prevent the Youngspiration members from retaking their oaths.

A court refused to grant an interim injunction, but set a Nov. 3 hearing date for a judicial review.

As the pro-establishment camp warned of fresh filibustering to stop the opposition duo from joining the house, Legco chief Leung said the oath-taking will be put off until the court rules on the matter.

But the opposition camp denounced the decision, saying that it amounts to a violation of the rights of the newly-elected members.   

The establishment camp, meanwhile, sought to continue to put pressure against any lenient approach toward the localist lawmaker duo. 

On Wednesday, hundreds of pro-government supporters gathered outside the Legco building and Tamar Park calling for the disqualification of Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching.

Stressing that the two legislators-elect insulted Chinese people during their swearing-in process two weeks ago, the protesters supported the Legco chief’s decision to suspend the oath-taking.

The rally was organized by DAB, Federation of Trade Unions and various other pro-government groups.

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JP/RC

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